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ULEZ Expansion in London

What's changing?

Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year because air pollution in the capital, with many children suffering from permanantly stunted lungs and adults suffering a range of illnesses, including asthma, heart disease and lung cancer. London's Ultra Low Emission Zone is expanding again from August 29th 2023 to include a huge portion of Greater London.

What is the ULEZ?

The ULEZ is designed to improve air quality by reducing the number of vehicles in London that don't meet emissions standards. Following its introduction in 2019, 94% of vehicles seen driving in the zone now meet the strict ULEZ standards.

London currently has three main emissions zones: Central London's Congestion Charge Zone, Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and the Low Emission Zone (LEZ)/DVS.

As of August 29th 2023, the ULEZ will expand, meaning stricter fees for non-compliant vehicles.

The ULEZ has already been hugely successful in central and inner London, helping to reduce roadside pollution levels by 44 per cent in central London and 20 per cent in inner London. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan believes that all Londoners have the right to breathe clean air. 

“The latest evidence shows that air pollution is making us sick from cradle to the grave. Londoners are developing life-changing illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma. And it’s especially dangerous for children.” - Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London has been in effect since April 2019. When it was first introduced, it followed the same map as the Congestion Charge. In October 2021, it was expanded to a larger portion of central London, with borders at (but not including) the North Circular Road (A406) and the South Circular Road (A205), protecting 4M Londoners from the health risks associated with high emissions.

What This Means for Drivers

After the changes on August 29th 2023, if you drive a vehicle that doesn't meet the emissions standards inside the expanded ULEZ, you could face a daily charge of £12.50. This includes residents of the ULEZ. However, you don't need to pay the ULEZ charge if you are parked inside the zone and don't drive. More details can be found on the TFL website.

You can check if your vehicle is ULEZ compliant here.

Operation Times

  • Congestion Charge: Operates 07:00-18:00 Mon-Fri, 12:00-18:00 Sat-Sun and bank holidays. No charge between Christmas Day and New Year's Day bank holiday (inclusive)
  • Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ): Operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year, except Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Low Emission Zone (LEZ): Operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
  • Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and HGV Safety Permit: Operates at all times for lorries over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight.

It is important to note that, at the time of writing, 96% of all vehicles in London are already ULEZ-compliant. When the scheme was first announced in 2017, only 39% of vehicles would have been compliant. Compliance in Outer London is already at 85%, before the expanded zone becomes a reality, suggesting that the standards encouraged by the ULEZ charge are, for the most part, achievable.

The new ULEZ policy already contains several components to ensure that disabled and low-income Londoners are not adversely affected. These include a £110m paid scrappage scheme to support low-income households, those with disabilities, charities, and small businesses to replace their non-ULEZ compliant vehicles. There will also be additional bus routes in the areas of expansion in order to cut down on road traffic between public transit stations.

How does this affect my business?

There are three main considerations for your business if you operate inside any of these zones.

  • Vehicles over 12 tonnes must be DVS compliant. You can read more about how to avoid large fines and ensure your vehicles are compliant.
  • If your vehicles are non-compliant, you are still able to drive within these zones, but you may need to pay as daily charge of £12.50. Find out if your vehicles meet the standards on the TFL checker.
  • The government has announced schemes to support business in their swap to a healthier fleet.
    Further information about this will be available here from January 2023.

Further Changes

Scrappage scheme

From 30 January 2023, Londoners receiving certain disability and means-tested benefits can apply to our car and motorcycle scrappage scheme and receive a grant payment, or a grant payment plus one or two Annual Bus & Tram passes. A separate van and minibus scrappage scheme will also be available for sole traders, micro-businesses (10 or fewer employees) and charities.

There will also be ULEZ support offers for successful scrappage scheme applicants as well as offers for all Londoners to take advantage of, whether eligible for a grant or not.

Discounts and exemptions

To help disabled Londoners and community transport providers prepare for the expansion, existing ULEZ grace periods (temporary exemptions) have been extended, and new grace periods will be introduced on 30 January 2023.

Auto Pay and Penalty Charge Notice changes

The £10 annual fee to register a vehicle for Auto Pay will be removed. Auto Pay lets drivers who register their vehicles avoid the risk of forgetting to pay the daily ULEZ charge and incurring a penalty charge.

The value of ULEZ and Congestion Charge penalty charges incurred will increase from £160 to £180 (reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days).

Get in touch to find out more about how we can help your business.

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